The Walker Art Center
May 2, 2023
Last semester, I took a class called Art Now: 21st Century art, which art teacher Bill Colburn described as “the class where we try to figure out what is going on at the Walker”. The Walker Art Center is a contemporary art museum located just up the street that includes a number of indoor galleries and the sculpture garden. The Walker features both art in traditional styles that have an inventive flair or contemporary styles, as well as art that stretches the boundaries of what art can be. Recently, they have been taking steps to feature artists of varying backgrounds and identities. They have made a particular effort to add more art from BIPOC identifying artists and women. This can be seen both in their permanent collections and rotating shows. For example, a piece by Angela Two Stars, a local native american artist, called Okiciyapi was installed in the sculpture garden in 2021. Similarly, works by Ta-coumba T. Aiken, another local artist, are on display in the galleries and the sculpture garden.
During my time in the art history class, I visited the Walker at least once a week. We saw every show available in the fall and cataloged all of the art in the sculpture garden. It was through this experience that I truly appreciated the benefit of immersive and experiential learning. Because of our access to the museums, we were able to learn so much more about the art world, including museum and gallery curation, as well as the art itself. While we learned about art, both through slideshows and in person visits, I found the in-person visits to be more valuable. Seeing art in person is so much more impactful, personal and engaging than any slideshow. We were able to see texture and detail in a way it cannot be captured digitally and we were able to make more individual choices about what art we wanted to study because we had direct access to so much of it. The upper school is located in a city full of culture and history. Taking advantage of the rich resources and experiences Minneapolis has to offer can make learning experiences so much more impactful.